It was standing-room only at Stoney’s Pub in North Wilmington to watch the U.S. take on Germany in the final game of group play.
The crowd gathered at the pub on Rt. 202 didn’t see the U.S. team score any goals, but they had plenty to cheer for as the team earned a ticket to the knockout round despite losing 1-0.
The crowd started lining up outside Stoney’s even before the doors opened to get a good spot to watch the match. Stoney’s is the home of the Delaware chapter of the American Outlaws, a kind of fan club for the U.S. soccer team.
“I’m kind of surprised that on a noon on a Thursday there’s this many people out here, but this is absolutely amazing,” said Eugene Rupinski, the president of AO Delaware. “It just shows how much this sport is really growing and taking hold.”
Soccer fans have crowded into Stoney’s for all of the U.S. games, which is certainly good for business. “I wish there was a World Cup every year,” said Mike Stone, who owns the pub and originally hails from England. “[It’s] great for business for me. I would say anything to do with football, or the queen, and I do well.”
With the U.S. advancing to the next round, Stone is already planning to deal with the crowd for next Tuesday’s game.
“I’m putting on a second floor,” Stone said jokingly. Stoney’s doesn’t have a second floor.
It has arrived
The American zest for soccer during this year’s World Cup is further evidence that the sport, which has long struggled to get attention in America, has arrived. “Anyone who says that football is still trying to make it in America is dead wrong. It’s made it,” Stone said.
The successful run the U.S. team has made, given its place in one of the most challenging groups of opponents, has helped draw fans to the sport.
“Anytime the United States as a nation gets into a sport, it broadens the appeal,” said Rupinksi. “When it’s national, when it’s the United States, everybody gets into it. It’s not just Delaware and the Philadelphia area.”